Editorial: The Doctor Is In Concierge Medicine

Calgary Herald (Canada) –March 8, 2013

The shortage of family doctors in Alberta has been well documented for years, along with the rise in so-called concierge medicine clinics, where patients pay a hefty fee totaling as much as $10,000 a year for fast access to care and longer sessions with a concierge doctor.

Unfortunately, this situation has created an imbalance which the Alberta College of Physicians and Surgeons is rightly considering remedying.

The problem has been that when doctors in the public system opt to join a concierge medicine, or boutique, clinic, they abandon their patients. This occurs because they are forbidden by the Canada Health Act to practice medicine in both public and private systems simultaneously. However, it also has the effect of leaving possibly thousands of patients without a family doctor in a situation where so many family doctors are unable to take new patients.

The proposed remedy would allow patients to continue to see their concierge doctors for medically necessary care at the boutiques, without also forcing them to join as paying clients. Their bills would be paid by the public health system. This is an excellent stop-gap measure, for it allows patients to continue to access the care they need while taking the time to find a concierge doctor or another family doctor.

College registrar Trevor Theman says this would mean the concierge medicine clinics would have to change their business models. So be it. Patient care and access to doctors is the priority. The college should make this happen.

Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/health/Editorial+doctor/8071411/story.html#ixzz2NqKLvkWO

About Concierge Medicine Journal

Concierge Medicine Journal (CMJ) curates breaking concierge medicine news, and editorial opinion on a wide variety of topics relevant to the practice of Concierge Medicine.

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